Time to test your knowledge of Christmas history and common traditions during the early decades of the 1800s. Reading my holiday stories and blog posts — the latter are in the Library at Pemberley — will finally pay off! I tried to keep it fun and easy, but there are prizes at stake so there must be some degree of a challenge, right?
For this quiz points are awarded for each correct answer ranging from true/false to provided options to fill-in-the-blanks to extra bonus points. The total points possible are 39. A special submission form for the quiz is at the end of this post. The deadline to submit answers is at 6pm EST on Monday, December 15. Prizes are awarded based on total points, and in case of a tie random.org will select. Answers and the winners will be posted on Tuesday the 16th – Jane Austen’s Birthday!
Grand Prize: everything pictured!
Second and third point winners will win special items from my Zazzle store too! Check out the possibilities HERE: http://www.zazzle.com/darcysagatsbo*
A Regency Christmas Quiz~~
1. Wassail is an alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverage made from pumpkin/apples and spices. It dates back to the Old Norse/Romans, and was served warm/cold with pieces of soaked toasted bread/dried fruit floating on top in a single cup/large bowl that was given to each person/passed around communally. While drinking, shouts of “Was Hál!” rang out, which meant “be in good health”/”Merry Christmas.” (8 possible points)
2. True or False: A decorated tree was absolutely unheard of in England prior to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. (1 point)
3. The traditional Boar’s Head feast was derived from an event that occurred with a student at which University: Cambridge or Oxford. One extra point if you can name the specific College within the University where the event occurred. An extra 2 points if you can give some details on the “event” involving the boar who became the first feast. (4 possible points)
4. True or False: Candy Canes were originally created and designed to represent the J in Jesus, and were striped red to represent His blood shed on Calvary. (1 point)
5. Which country is best known throughout history (and still today) for its stunning open-air Christmas markets and for creating elaborate ornaments of glass and tin, tinsel of silver, nutcrackers, and music boxes? France, Russia, or Germany. (1 point)
6. What was poured onto a Yule Log before it was set on fire? Oil, wine, or tree sap. How long must a Yule Log continue to burn to avoid bad luck falling upon the household? 7 days, 12 days, or 30 days. What must be done to the remains? Buried in a special place, saved to kindle the next year’s Yule Log, or burned until only ash is left. (3 points)
7. True or False: The English Father Christmas dates to the Celts and Saxons, was derived from various wintertime personages (Father Time, King Frost, the god Odin), was typically depicted as an elderly man, and was strongly associated with drinking spirits and lively merrymaking. So much so that he was banned in 1644 by the Puritans. (1 point)
8. Traditionally the Twelve Days of Christmas begin on: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. They extend into January of the next year, ending on: January 4 or January 5. That last day is known as: Epiphany Day or Twelfth Day. An extra 2 points if you can explain the meaning of “Epiphany Day.” (5 possible points)
9. True or False: The monotonous song The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally a poem written as a “memories and forfeits” game to play as part of Twelfth Night celebrations. 2 bonus points if you can describe what a “memories and forfeits” game is. (3 possible points)
10. The ruler of a Twelfth Night festival was: Father Christmas, The Lord of Misrule, or the King of Carnival. (1 point)
11. Mince Pies, originally, were made primarily with pieces of fruit/meat flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and then stirred clockwise/counterclockwise for good luck. The pies were large/small and shaped oblong/round to represent Christ’s cradle/face. (5 possible points)
12. The Nativity Creche, with live people performing, was created by which saint as a means of teaching the story of Jesus’ birth to those who could not read the Bible or understand Latin: Saint Nicholas, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Paul. (1 point)
13. The Christmas Pudding, also called “plum pudding” (whether plums were used or not) evolved from a rich, spiced fruity porridge called: orgeat, frumenty, or syllabub. (1 point)
14. Holly, ivy, rosemary, mistletoe, laurel, yew, and fir are all evergreen plants commonly used to decorate for Christmas. Which ONE of those listed has the longest history of special, mystical powers for healing, fertility, bringing good luck and love, and warding off evil spirits? Two bonus points if you can name the specific group of people who considered this evergreen sacred and are most responsible for establishing its importance in mythology. (3 possible points)
15. Boxing Day has been celebrated in England on December 26 since the Middle Ages. There are various theories to the origins. Which of the 3 listed below is NOT an accepted origin. (1 point)
- It was the day the church alms boxes were opened, the donations from the parishioners then distributed to the poor of the community. This is directly tied to the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and apostle of the early church, who was renowned for giving gifts to the poor, and the carol “Good King Wenceslas” about Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia who gave alms to the poor “on the Feast of Saint Stephen.”
- Since servants were required to work on Christmas, they were given the following day off instead. The remains from the household feasts were “boxed” for them to take home to share with their families.
- In the aftermath of fine food and spirits, wealthy Brits spent the day laying about the house, or “boxed inside” the warm walls while doing very little – especially with most of the servants away.
Use the form below to submit answers to Sharon.
Good luck, everyone!!